In this age, CBD or Cannabidiol products are already available everywhere. They are available in pharmacies, grocery stores, specific stalls, mini-marts, and online markets. CBD has gained popularity because of its numerous benefits when it comes to improving health and overall wellness. Since its discovery, the demand for CBD has been rapidly increasing, and the CBD industry has been quick in expanding too since the legalization of CBD Hemp Oil during the year 2014.
The hemp plant used to be neglected, but with the increasing popularity of CBD or Cannabidiol, the hemp plant was immediately drawn to the spotlight. However, hemp was not neglected in the United States since The Founding Fathers were in awe of the plant. Hemp plants are used in tons of varied products such as ropes, accessories, textiles, seeds, building materials, shoes, and even soap and sunscreens.
There was a time when hemp was prohibited in the USA because of an anti-drug movement that caused it to be classified as a Schedule 1 drug and placed in the same category as Marijuana. As a result, its production was ceased in 1957. But because of the many proven benefits and uses of hemp, hemp cultivation is now back in the American farms, all thanks to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Many farmers have been taking advantage of the Hemp Plant’s goodness and use that they have been making it an impressive cash crop. They have been extensively producing it since many businesses from different parts of the world use CBD, which is derived from hemp. Many people are also using other parts of the plant, such as hemp flowers and the hemp bud.
With every growing industry, there will always be problems in production or growing pains. The bulk requirements and mass production, quality control, and quality assurance might be affected. Although decarboxylated and filtered oil has been practiced for the removal of impurities, contamination is still possible in some batches and brands. But, worry not, since we are to help you determine and ensure that you are getting high-quality hemp free of contaminants.
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Making sure that your CBD products are free of contaminants
Be knowledgeable about how contamination occurs in Hemp and CBD Products.
So how does contamination happen? Contamination can happen during the process of growing hemp and the extraction process of CBD from the hemp plant. Both Hemp and Cannabis plants are the type of plants that are known as hyperaccumulators. Hyperaccumulator plants have roots capable of and very efficient when absorbing toxins from the soil and the air around them. When absorbed, the toxins absorbed by the roots will then settle and get highly concentrated in the plant’s tissues.
Since Hemp plants are hyperaccumulators, they should be grown healthily, organically, and sustainably. Growing hemp plants in soil saturated with chemical pesticides or herbicides will have an adverse effect on the plants since these toxins will get concentrated at high levels in the plant’s tissues. This should be avoided since these toxic substances may end up in the different CBD products derived from that hemp plant. A contaminated CBD product, when used, might pose a serious health threat to the users, especially to those with pre-existing medical conditions or comorbidities.
The use of solvents during extraction can also contaminate the CBD products from hemp. Non-toxic substances that are available to be used during extraction include CO2 and olive oil. However, some brands and growers use harmful solvents such as butane, propane, ethanol, isopropyl, or alcohol during the extraction process. These solvents should be completely removed from the final product so that the users will not be exposed to them, but it is possible that residues will remain.
Choose to buy from reputable brands and sources.
High demand for CBD products results in a surge of new producers too. Because of the expedited establishment of a company, its quality can be compromised, and it will now be difficult for consumers to identify which CBD products are safe and of high-quality. That is why it is very important to know and identify which brands produce safe CBD products, and you will be able to do this by doing a “farm-to-shelf” approach. Knowing the growth procedure or the hemp production process is equally important as knowing how the CBD products are made.
To be able to identify reputable sources effectively, this information should be readily available to consumers:
- USDA Organic Certification of the hemp plant.
- Laboratory testing by an independent and third-party laboratory throughout the manufacturing process.
- Third-party GMP or Good Manufacturing Process Certification of the company or brand
- The manufacturing site should be FDA-registered and approved.
- The company’s length of service in the hemp growth and CBD manufacturing service.
- Method of CBD extraction from hemp and the reagents, chemicals, or solvents used.
This might look like information overload, but this information is all-important, and they are everything you should know. You know that you can trust the company if they are very willing to be transparent about their manufacturing process and growing method and the reagents and other compounds they might have used. A brand that does not hide anything is truly legit and trustworthy.
Only make purchases from companies that use sustainably grown hemp.
Sustainably grown hemp is another way to go. As mentioned above, growing hemp plants with the use of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals is one of the many ways hemp and CBD products can be contaminated. To avoid this, sustainable hemp plant growth should be practiced.
The hemp plant is one of the many oldest cultivated crops globally, so it is easily grown and ideal for sustainable growing practices. Hemp plants are very easy to grow since they require very little water and fertilizer. They are also commonly resistant to pests and diseases, so pesticides are naturally not needed. The soil also benefits from the hemp plant since its fallen leaves effectively return minerals and nitrogen to the soil.
When growing hemp plants, some growers say that weed control might be an issue, but experts say that it may outgrow or outcompete weed because of the hemp plant’s capability to grow fast. It is also recommended to plant hemp in fields without a record of problematic weed growth, rotating crops, and using the right cultivation and cleaning equipment to avoid rampant and pesky weed growth.
Organic and sustainable farming should be practiced since it benefits the plant and the environment as well. We highly recommend choosing companies that use certified organic hemp, if possible. For European growers, organic farmers of hemp plants are required to comply with the European Union regulations. Their regulations, however, are more stringent compared to US organic standards. The USDA allows hemp to be certified organic in various states where hemp is legally grown. Hemp has become an increasingly popular plant to grow in the US since its declassification as a controlled substance by the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act (Farm Bill), together with numerous states implementing the permitting program required by the federal government.
Hemp has been in demand for a long time because of its many users, including industrial usage. Still, because of its usage for CBD and the rapid growth and demand in the CBD market, data shows an enormous increase in the production and the number of acres planted by the US farmers in just a year. Hemp plants are also widely grown in different countries such as China, North Korea, France, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and other Scandinavian countries.
Hemp’s suitability as a sustainably grown crop forms the basis of the Hemp Pledge, which is signed by the members of the National Hemp Association. The Hemp Pledge reads, “I recognize the responsibility to shift to global priorities away from nonrenewable materials and pracices, acknowledging that hemp represents one of our best oppurtunities to achieve green agricultural and manufacturing solutions without sacrificing cost or quality.”
Staying updated regarding CBD quality and data
CBD quality and data is extremely important when it comes to the determination of quality and purity. In the absence of industry-wide data, it will be very difficult to determine the extent of CBD products’ contamination problem.
For consumers, we suggest that you visit the FDA’s Consumer Updates page with details on products that contain Cannabis or compounds derived from Cannabis, such as CDB. You may visit the page from time to time to be updated for new reviews and new studies published. The increase in demand and popularity of CBD has also made different media outlets tag this as a trending topic. They also made efforts to examine quality control issues within the industry to benefit the mass media.
Many journalism groups and networks have chosen a random selection of CBD oils tested by different independent laboratories. Some reports from trusted outlets have also conducted testing on the three hundred best-selling CBD products, which yielded an alarming result. High levels of pesticides, herbicides, and weedkiller substances, molds, and heavy metals were found in numerous CBD products.
This information proves that it is important for us to update the various CBD quality and data.
Know the laboratory results
Independent laboratory testing of various CBD products is not necessarily required. There is no federal regulation written about it. It is still good to know that more reputable and trusted manufacturers have their products tested. Making efforts and investing in laboratory testing benefits both the consumers and the company as well. For the consumers, laboratory testing is beneficial because they can know and determine if the CBD product they’re about to purchase is free of contaminants and are extracted from high-quality hemp plants. Laboratory testing benefits the company and helps them confirm their quality assurance and quality control are both efficient and effective.
If you want to see if a brand or manufacturer offers products that have been tested, you will only need to visit their website and look for the COA or Certificate of Analysis posted. A COA is a document issued by the Quality Assurance that a product has met certain specifications; it is proof that a third-party laboratory tested the products. You will be able to view the test results on that site. The results will show whether a product contains contaminants, residual solvents, or harmful pesticides. Also, the FDA currently did a recommendation that CBD products should also be tested with cadmium, arsenic, lead, and mercury.
If you are a consumer who wants specific details, you may ask the company to provide a COA for a specific batch number of the product that you have purchased. Look for the batch number on the label. Microbial testing that will detect molds and bacteria is also included in the COA. Most reputable producers and companies have a QR code on their products, and you may be able to access their COA through these QR codes by using an application on your phone. If the company or brand you are looking into is not able or unwilling to provide you with a COA, then it’s best to look for another.
To ensure high-quality hemp without contaminants, recent trends in cannabis and hemp testing highlight several key areas:
- Regulations and Standards: Regulatory bodies are becoming more involved in developing consistent standards and regulations for hemp testing. This includes collaborations with scientific groups like AOAC International for developing testing methods, particularly for contaminants like heavy metals.
- Trends in Cannabis Testing Industry: There’s a trend towards more centralized regulatory infrastructure and strong collaboration among stakeholders (scientists, testing labs, regulatory agencies). This aims at consistency in regulations and testing.
- Testing Lab Accuracy Issues: Standardized testing methods are being developed to address accuracy issues in labs, including proficiency testing to ensure consistent and quality results.
- Setting Up Testing Labs: As the industry grows, the need for testing labs increases. Key steps include defining operation goals, understanding legal requirements, and ensuring staff have technical expertise.
- Lab Certification Process: Gaining ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation is crucial for labs to ensure high-quality testing. The process involves understanding state implementations of certification and developing strong relationships with regulatory contacts.
Most CBD products are used for the improvement of health and overall wellness. That is why it is ultimately significant to ensure that the CBD products purchased come from only high-quality and healthy hemp plants free from contaminants and diseases.